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Garamendi Keynotes Smart Growth Conference Gala

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Sonora, Ca — Trying to grow the economy, while at the same time maintaining the beauty of the Sierra Nevada, is a main topic of discussion at the two day Smart Growth Conference taking place in Tuolumne and Sonora.

The keynote speaker at a Gala Dinner held at the Sonora Elks Lodge was California Lt. Governor, and Calaveras County native, John Garamendi.

?The Mother Lode region and the rest of the Sierra Nevada community is in the process of visioning the future,? says Garamendi. ?I am encouraging them to stay with the planning and visioning, and develop a plan so that the beauty, attributes and values of these mountains, where I grew up, will be maintained.?

The conference is being hosted by the Central Sierra Resource Conservation and Development Council, USDA and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.

Valerie Klinefelter, Chairperson for the Central Sierra Resource Conservation and Development Council, says there have been good ideas brought up at the event and productive discussions.

?Smart Growth is a lot of things to a lot of different people,? says Klinefelter. ?Your dealing with transportation issues, mixed use communities, customers for the downtown, making sure there are jobs in the communities, and making fiscal sense in these times.?

The conference opened up Thursday morning with presentations at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Tuolumne. The Gala Dinner was held at the Sonora Elks Lodge, and the final presentations will take place Friday, back at the Veterans Hall.

Written by BJ Hansen